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Thai projects make job seekers smile
Nick Walker
update on Saturday, October 15, 2011
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The Thai government says its US$14 billion (HK$108.9 billion) construction sector is projected to expand by around 7 per cent over the next few years. Moreover, the government's rubber-stamping of US$5.9 billion for investments in infrastructure in 2010 has ensured steady growth - and a blossoming of hiring opportunities - across the Land of Smiles this year.

Trevor Smith, an environmental sustainability consultant, notes a number of promising-looking projects for job-hunting professionals in construction looking for regional opportunities. For instance, temporary expansion at Phuket International Airport is about to begin, to cope with record numbers of tourist arrivals on the resort island, particularly from Hong Kong and mainland China, in 2012 and beyond.

With Phuket tourism surging, airport manager Airports of Thailand (AOT) now have to stretch the capacity of the obsolete Phuket facility as far as possible before construction of the new airport is completed in 2014.

"We have plans to take Phuket International Airport from dealing with 68 airlines to 90 airlines in high season. And we meet regularly each month with key stakeholders in the airport, including the airlines and immigration [department]. We will be developing the space between Terminal One and Terminal Two initially so we can keep pace with growth," says AOT's deputy Phuket director, Thanee Choochoing.

Also recently announced was the transport ministry's plans for a 280km third ring-road for Bangkok and surrounding provinces. This highway will feature a canal in lieu of a traffic island to alleviate flooding. The canal will be designed to absorb excess water from the Chao Phraya and Tha Chin rivers during Bangkok's notorious and frequent heavy rains. "A clever and sustainable environmental feature," Smith notes.

Last month, Thailand's Transport Permanent Secretary Supoj Saplom unveiled the six-lane, 280km ring road project, which will cost an estimated 150 billion Thai baht (HK$37.7 billion). It will pass through the old capital of Ayutthaya, as well as Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Prakan, and Bangkok itself.

"The road will relieve congestion, and thereby improve Bangkok's air quality," Smith says. "Thailand is getting the sustainability message, so a 'sustainable practices' background on a job-hunters résumé will take a professional a long way in Southeast Asia."

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